- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Still waiting, senator

During a visit to Africa in March 1998, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged in a speech at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, that the United States would provide $2 million for victims of rebel activity.
The money, Mrs. Clinton promised, would help locate thousands of abducted children and give them medical care.
Writing in her syndicated newspaper column the following week, Mrs. Clinton repeated the monetary pledge, relaying stories of children being kidnapped and tortured by the Lord's Resistance Army, a terrorist group in Sudan.
Boys are "used in battle as human shields," Mrs. Clinton wrote, while girls are raped, "often forced to kill other children who don't obey." She told of "legs being cut with either a panga or an ax," and "a young baby of a few months held in hand and beaten to death against a tree."
This week, Inside the Beltway intercepted a dispatch from Kampala: "Hillary Cash Yet to Come Makerere University still awaits a 1998 pledge by U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Oplo Epelu said yesterday. Epelu … said the New York senator made the pledge over two years ago."
An aide to the first lady yesterday said her office was looking into the matter.

Rosie's hide

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed suit in Arlington, Va., yesterday against Rosie O'Donnell, who claims PETA approves of certain leather products.
PETA says the television host's remarks show a reckless disregard for the animal-rights group. The lawsuit comes after repeated attempts by PETA to get Rosie to "correct" her statement.
"The 'Queen of Nice' has never responded," says PETA, which demands a retraction aired on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and punitive damages of $350,000, used to educate the public about abuse suffered by cows and other animals whose skin becomes handbags and coats.

Next election

Don't look for our next president to enjoy a traditional "honeymoon" on Capitol Hill, although the future chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee could be a key player in the success of what honeymoon there is.
"Whoever finally moves into the White House will no doubt receive less of a honeymoon period to push his agenda than his predecessors enjoyed," opines David W. Almasi, of the National Center for Public Policy Research.
And while everybody's eyes are on Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, yet another critical but little-noticed election between two Republican congressmen Rep. Philip M. Crane of Illinois vs. Bill Thomas of California is "almost as important," providing the "ways and means" for the next president.
"The outcome … will have a profound impact on how well the next president will be able to enact his policies," explains Mr. Almasi, noting Ways and Means handles tax-writing duties, any Social Security or Medicare reform, and the repeal of the death tax and marriage penalty tax.
And talk about potential mudslinging, both candidates for the chairman's post carry personal baggage: Mr. Crane was recently in rehabilitation for a drinking problem; Mr. Thomas has just faced accusations of a liaison with a health care lobbyist.

Political port

George Washington would be proud knowing that his hometown of Alexandria, Va. the original site proposed for the U.S. Capitol has become the nation's "political corridor" to power.
Almost overnight, a majority of the nation's top political consulting and polling firms have located in the historic cobblestoned city, just a stone's throw (if you believe presidential folklore) across the Potomac River from Washington.
For example, when Maine Sen. Olympia J. Snowe ran for re-election this year, she retained Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria as her pollster and Smith & Harroff of Alexandria as her media consultant.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's opponent in Connecticut's U.S. Senate contest, Republican Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano, hired John McLaughlin & Associates of Alexandria as his pollster and National Media of Alexandria as his media consultant.
Delaware's gubernatorial contest pitting Democrat Lt. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner against Republican John Burris saw the Tarrance Group of Alexandria taking on Murphy Putnam Media of Alexandria.
And Montana's gubernatorial battle had Democrat Mark O'Keefe and Alexandria's Trippi, McMahon & Squier matched up against Republican Judy Martz and Alexandria's Sandler-Innocenzi.
There's plenty more, including North Carolina's gubernatorial race featuring Democrat Mike Easley and Cooper & Secrest Associates of Alexandria vs. Republican Richard Vinroot and Alexandria's McLaughlin & Associates.
"We're all located within blocks of each other," says Mr. McLaughlin, who rattled off eight top firms all housed around the corner from each other.
"The location is key," he says, citing Alexandria's proximity to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Capitol.

Enough said

"This election has answered a very large question: Now we know why they want our guns."
Inside the Beltway reader Tom Dillard

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